Industry: Veterinary Medical Practice
Payments Need: A way for customers to pay in-clinic and on-site.
Previous Payments Provider: Moneris. Launched FenVet with Helcim.
Cody Creelman is a veterinarian and vlogger with a passion for animal health. His clinic, FenVet, opened in Airdrie, Alberta in May 2021. We got to speak to Cody just a short while after his grand opening and hear about his journey as a vet, the leap into starting his own business, and talk about getting paid as a business owner.
What was it like working as a vet vs. making the decision to open your own business and become your own boss?
C: When you graduate from veterinary school, becoming a veterinarian is scary. It’s a very steep learning curve, but after a while you start to get the hang of it and it really isn’t much of a challenge anymore, and I was trying to look and see what else I could do to really push myself and carve out my own destiny.
That’s where business ownership was really appealing to me, that allowed me to have control over my career path, and being able to make those decisions and have those rewards for taking those big risks—I really love that part of the business ownership journey.
What made you start Fen Vet in particular?
C: I started Fen Vet because I saw this massive opportunity within the veterinary space to provide a better customer experience. Practicing good medicine, while it isn’t the easiest thing - is pretty standard. I wanted to be able to take that to the next level from a customer experience standpoint; to put myself in the customer’s shoes and to be able to create something special for them. So when they come into FenVet, they feel special, and when they leave they feel happy. I don’t want the vet experience to be something that’s scary or something that people are anxious about. I want people to feel great when they’re in this practice and when they leave this practice.
What has been one of your biggest challenges since starting Fen Vet?
C: The biggest challenge of starting Fen Vet—and I think it relates to anybody starting a new business—is just overcoming the fear. I love this profession, I have the business know-how, but there’s always that level of doubt in your mind that everything is going to crash and burn around you and that’s scary! So getting over the fear to me is the hardest part, and once you do that, the rest is kind of easy.
What is some advice you have for other business owners?
C: My words of advice for other business owners are A) find your passion. What are you super passionate about? I’m really lucky that I found veterinary medicine really early, but it’s what propels me forward, and keeps me up at night excited for the next day. So finding that passion is really important. From there, just take that risk. I know it’s scary, but there’s gonna be a great reward. And I always say everything that’s good in life is hard.
What have you seen throughout your career in terms of challenges to getting paid?
C: That integration between that merchant services provider and making sure they’re supporting you through everything that you need to do. It can be a challenge if you’re not getting exceptional customer service, because when things are happening, it needs to work every single time! So making sure that you have great customer support from the get-go is super important to me.
I have found amazing customer service with Helcim. It’s actually blown my mind! I can not believe the level of support I got right from the set up phase, right through. Usually, I have to contact customer support personnel when I’m working with other vendors, but in this case, I find Helcim reaching out to me to make sure that everything is great, is everything running good? Following up all the time. I had no idea what to expect in that regard. I was looking for a merchant services provider to be super innovative and what I found is an innovative company that also had an amazing customer experience - the same thing I’m trying to provide for my customers.
How did you hear about Helcim?
C: I heard about Helcim through my own searches. I was looking for an innovative company. This is one of the core tenets of FenVet, is to embrace innovation, so I was researching the merchant providers out there, and I wanted the most technologically advanced, future-proofed company to partner with.
If you’ve used a different credit card processor before, what was that experience like?
C: In the past, I’ve used Moneris, and I just feel like the overall experience is antiquated. It feels very slow, and just not what I’m expecting in 2021 and beyond. I’m looking for [a company] that’s embracing the values I have as an entrepreneur and not stuck in that old sort of financial institution model.
I think [Helcim is] the future of how we’re going to interact with merchant service providers.
Tell us how you and your team use Helcim.
C: The first way is in-clinic when we do an exam on a pet and we’re ready to checkout, we take the unit directly into each exam room so we can have social distancing during the pandemic. We have the ability to make the units portable so keep everybody separate and safe.
If for whatever reason, we’re not able to make that transaction in-clinic, I love being able to hop online and send out a ‘request payment’ link. That has been so incredibly handy and completely seamless to capture our revenues but provide a really great customer experience for our customers as well.
Where can people find out more about you?
People who want to check us out, they can follow my personal Facebook or Instagram page and that’s just @CodyCreelman or you can check out our vet clinic @FenVet or @FenVetClinic.
Fen Vet is located on South Main Street in Airdire, Alberta.